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Translator: Dragon Rider
He Zheng and Zu Zhichong went back into the room. Xuanqing, who was wearing a white Taoist robe and appeared even younger than Zu Zhichong, had already washed his hands and lighted three joss sticks. Seeing them coming in, Xuanqing said to He Zheng, "Go and wash your hands. Then take three joss sticks and do as I do."
"It's the induction ceremony. Hurry." Zu Zhichong gave He Zheng a gentle push.
He Zheng washed his hands clean, took three joss sticks and stood behind Xuanqing.
Holding three lighted joss sticks with his hands folded in front of him, Xuanqing made three bows in a row to the temporary memorial tablet placed in front of him. He Zheng followed suit. Seeing Xuanqing sink the joss sticks into the censer, He Zheng also did the same.
Smoke slowly rose from the glowing ends of the joss sticks. Xuanqing pointed at the cattail ha.s.sock on the ground. "I don't need you to kowtow to me or proffer me tea. Just kowtow to the founder of our sect three times, requesting permission from him to make a living as an exorcist."
Without any hesitation, He Zheng kowtowed three times consecutively to the temporary memorial tablet of the founder of the Qingwei Sect.
"You may rise."
"This is it?" He Zheng felt that this induction ceremony was unduly simple. Such was the complexity of the procedures of He family's annual sacrificial ceremony in honor of their ancestors that He Zheng would swear during the process every year.
"What's the point of observing all the solemnities? From now on, just remember I'm your master s.h.i.+fu. That's all that matters." Made by a young man, these remarks actually sounded somewhat strange, but since He Zheng had already been informed of his true ident.i.ty, he found it rather acceptable.
Xuanqing observed, "I had just finished my three-year closed-door cultivation when you came here. It seems that this indentures.h.i.+p is predestined. He Zheng, now you've officially become an apprentice of me, Xuanqing. If you got bullied outside, under no circ.u.mstances should you mention my name."
"Because you are afraid of foes retaliating against you?"
"Because I'm afraid of you bringing shame on me."
The corner of He Zheng's mouth involuntarily twitched. He was just about to say something when Xuanqing continued, "Of course, in order to prevent this kind of terrible things from happening, I'll teach you all my skills. How many you can master solely depends on yourself."
Then he grunted "Uh" and then remarked, "Since you've memorized the incantation of the Quintuple Lightning Enchantment, I'll teach you lightning spells first."
Zu Zhichong, who had been standing on the side watching all along, yelled, "Sect-uncle! He Zheng hasn't even learned the most basic Qi-gathering technique. A spell as powerful as the Quintuple Lightning Enchantment will get him killed! Maybe you should have him start with something else. He Zheng has no other business to attend to and can stay here for quite some time anyway."
Unaware of what kind of danger the practice of the enchantment involved, He Zheng wasn't really scared.
"He has plenty of time, but I don't," Xuanqing muttered under his breath, raised his head and curled his lip, a totally unconcerned look on his face. "Didn't you say that he invoked a thundercloud when he practiced the enchantment for the first time? Since he survived the last time, what could possibly go wrong when he does it again?"
Zu Zhichong, who was nearly driven crazy, couldn't help but thunder, "This is sheer madness, Sect-uncle! You are not comparing like with like! If you have He Zheng do this, he'll definitely end up being roasted by lightning like a chicken!"
Xuanqing flicked a contemptuous glance at Zu Zhichong. "No wonder they say both of you are wimps."
He pointed at He Zheng. "Have you any idea how much greater He Zheng's endowment is than yours? There is a difference between you two, understand?"
Zu Zhichong was sent speechless. His sect-uncle's words were so hurtful that he felt as if his heart had just been hit by numerous arrows.
"What a nuisance," Xuanqing mumbled in annoyance.
He Zheng was amused. "I kind of share your opinion."
Zu Zhichong's heart took another heavy blow, which made him feel he was dying.
Xuanqing raised his eyes. "Do you have the b.a.l.l.s to do it?"
"I don't see why I should be afraid." In fact, He Zheng was somewhat excited. 'The Quintuple Lightning Enchantment. This name alone is cool enough.'
"All right. I'll teach you how to draw this Fu."
The young man softly raised his hand and two pieces of blank Fu paper flew out of his sleeve. With a wave of his hand, a brush-pen dipped in red ink flew from the recess to the surface of the table. Remarkably, this man was so powerful as to perform telekinesis!
He put one of the two pieces of blank Fu paper on the table, raised the brush-pen dipped in red ink and informed He Zheng in a calm tone of voice. "Watch carefully. I'm going to do this only once.
Watch with not your eyes but your heart."
He Zheng inclined his head and dismissed miscellaneous thoughts from his mind. Xuanqing's hand movements were steady and smooth. From the moment the tip of the brush-pen came into contact with the Fu paper, the brush-pen moved quickly and fluently without a single break. After merely several dozen seconds, a Fu was accomplished at one stroke.
It was done so quick that He Zheng's memory was far from good enough to memorize the trail of the brush-pen. He frowned with concentration and carefully observed the Fu drawn by Xuanqing.
Xuanqing handed the brush-pen to him. "Now give it a shot. Just do your best.
While drawing, you are to will the Qi in your Dantian –the Qi in your lower abdomen –to move to the tip of the brush-pen and infuse it into the Fu."
This was very difficult to understand. He Zheng's brow corrugated in a slight frown.
As if he could tell that He Zheng didn't understand, Xuanqing explained, "It's like blowing up a balloon –your 'Qi' is like the air, and your Dantian is like your lungs. Force the air into moving from the lungs to your mouth along the windpipe and then 'blow' up the Fu paper."
He Zheng inclined his head, as if having comprehended a small part of it.
In fact, He Zheng really had talent for drawing. There had even been a time when he had been learning sketch in order to hook up with a chick studying in the academy of fine arts of his college. As a result, though the Fu pattern in front of him was pretty complicated, he believed he could replicate part of it if he divided it into several segments.
Besides, He Zheng remembered the trail of the tip of the brush-pen during the first few and last few seconds of Xuanqing's drawing the Fu.
He Zheng concentrated his mind. Following Xuanqing's tips, he didn't intentionally try to recite the incantation in his mind, but he felt as if he was able to will the Qi in his body to move along his arm.
A Fu consisted of a Fu head, a Fu trunk and a Fu tail. Each of the three had its own life but was also related with the other two forming, and together, they formed a continuous and endless energy succession.
He Zheng managed to finish the Fu head and was unable to recall the rest of the Fu pattern.
He put down the brush-pen, a layer of sweat on his brow, his face somewhat pale.
However, he failed to notice that Zu Zhichong was goggling fixedly at him as if he were a ghost.
"This is fairly acceptable." The young man, without even glancing at He Zheng's work, handed He Zheng the Fu he had drawn himself, saying, "If you practice diligently enough, you'll be able to master this in two or three days.
Now go and practice the lightning spell."
He glimpsed at Zu Zhichong standing transfixed with shock and aimed a kick at him, which was a conduct rather unbecoming to an elder. "Go and get the lightning Fu you drew."
Like a walking dead, Zu Zhichong slowly left the room, the pop song called "We Are Different" reverberating in his mind. He could barely forbear to roar, since it had taken him a full month to master the technique of drawing the Fu pattern of the Quintuple Lightning Enchantment! Yet He Zheng managed to draw one third of it after merely taking a few glances at it!